Press Release
April 2, 2017

Villar sets review of measures reducing plastic wastes

Sen. Cynthia Villar will hold a hearing on the measures undertaken by government and private sectors to reduce plastic wastes in the seas on Monday, April 3, 1 pm at the Senate.

Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, filed Proposed Senate Resolution No. 329, which seeks an inquiry on the measures to arrest the country's prevalent plastic wastes leakage into the seas. The hearing will also consider the privilege speech of Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III on the IPU-UN Parliamentary Hearing entitled "A World of Blue: Preserving the Oceans, Safeguarding the Planet, Ensuring Human Well-Being in the Context of the 2030 Agenda."

Villar noted that despite the enactment of Republic 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act since 2001, the Philippines is among the countries with the most number of plastic wastes being dumped into the seas.

The University of Georgia study "Plastic waste inputs from land into the seas," states that the Philippines ranked third, next to China and Indonesia, among 192 countries surveyed in terms of estimated volume of mismanaged plastic wastes produced by the population that could potentially enter the seas and oceans.

"This report is quite alarming amid the presence of abundant findings that the presence of plastic wastes in the seas adversely affects the marine life and eventually the world's food chain," Villar said.

Villar said in her regular coastal cleanup activities at the Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Eco-Tourism Area and the Baseco Compound in Manila Bay, she witnesses "firsthand the overwhelming presence of plastic wastes in the waters and shorelines, mostly made up of packaging materials and sachets of diverse products or brands, ranging from shampoos, conditioners, candies, biscuits, junk food, coffee, milk, and detergent, mostly made, distributed or sold by well-known manufacturing firms operating in the Philippines."

"To my mind, a "business as usual" approach in reducing the plastic waste will barely contribute to efforts in reducing the prevalence of plastic wastes and its leakage into our seas. Bolder and more innovative measures should be undertaken not only by the national government and the local government units, but by all sectors," Villar said.

"More particularly, I believe that the active participation of commercial manufacturers and distributors are crucial in initiatives to substantially reduce the generation of plastic wastes," she added.

In Las Pinas, Villar said, plastic wastes were recycled into school chairs and donated to public schools around the Philippines.

Expected to attend the hearing are Dir. Theresa Mundita Lim, Biodiversity Management Bureau; Rehan Lao, Chief of staff, Office of the Undersecretary for Legislative Liaison and Special Concerns, Department of Interior and Local Government; Dr. Ruby Raterta, Senior Science Research Specialist, Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development, Department of Science and Technology; Usec. Maria Catalina Cabral, Planning and PPP Services, Department of Public Works and Highways; Atty. Ranibai Dilangalen, Undersecretary for Special Concerns, Department of Agriculture; and Atty. Tionisito Umali, Asst. Secretary for Legislative Liaison Office and External Partnership Service, Department of Education, and representatives from the Metro Manila Development Authority, League of Province of the Philippines, League of Municipal Mayors, Association of Barangay Councils, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Philippine Information Agency, National Solid Waste Management Commission, Manila Bay Coordinating Office, Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, Local Water Utilities Administration, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, and the Philippine Ports Authority.

Also attending the hearing are Aileen Lucero, national coordinator, Eco-Waste Coalition; Sonia Mendoza, chairperson, Mother Earth Foundation and representatives from Oceana Philippines, Manila Bay Sunset Partnership Program, Inc., University of the Philippines (UP) Marine Science Institute, UP Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology, Ateneo de Manila University Department of Environmental Sciences, Philippine Plastics Industry Association, Nestle Philippines, Inc., San Miguel Corporation, Unilever Philippines, Universal Robina Corp., Philip Morris Manufacturing. Inc., IPM Waste Management Corp., and Leonel Waste Management Corp.

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